EIM - Its Own Worst Enemy

The problem EIM faces, starts with the words enterprise, information & management and ends with the acronym EIM.


Isn’t the word ‘enterprise’ from Star Trek? If only it was that futuristic, in reality it conjures up vast corporations, which impose limitations on how we work. It acts as another word for firewall, yet most of the information challenges companies face, are beyond the firewall. This legacy has little relevance for information initiatives today, which must embrace all relevant information needed by the business, no matter where it is created.


Does anyone have a neat definition of information? We can barely agree where information starts and ends, never mind who uses it, why it’s used or what is its value. Most people struggle to articulate its definition and are unaware of the landscape – the only consistent theme seems to be confusion.


Shouldn’t all information assets have a ‘Governor’? If we don’t really know where ownership and responsibility lies then how can we expect to give information the ‘duty of care’ that it surely deserves and certainly needs? For such an important commodity I still find it perplexing that boards don’t appoint an information leader and arm them with custodians, stewards and a mandate to protect it at all costs.


All too often confusion reigns when people use one term interchangeably, or combine the definitions of two or more items. EIM has suffered from the naming conventions historically attached to company-wide technology programmes: WCM, ECM, EDM, MDM, DAM, ETL, RIM etc. They all sound very technical and distant, as does EIM. Why would we care about EIM? What’s it got do to with us?
Information management is primarily about people, behaviour and business transformation: If information is steak then we are missing the sizzle! We’ve got to inject some glamour and excitement into our EIM story telling, so that it drives investment and engagement across the business. Let’s tell our stories so that people who hear them can’t wait to tell the very next person they meet.

What should EIM be called?

Before EIM is tweaked to become EIM 2.0, I believe we all need to reposition this programme, which has been weighed down and restrained by this moniker.

• We need inspirational EIM stories, and people who know how to tell them.
• We need responsible people to want to take ownership for the information within an organisation, and steer it as ‘our information’ for ‘our community’.
• We need a programme of continual improvement and attention, not a flash in the pan project, that starts with energy and quickly fades away.
• We need small steps attached to success metrics that allow us to focus on priority areas, and demonstrate success.
• We need closed loop feedback processes that result in improvements in one area having positive impact in others, translating into employee engagement as now we know why good information management is so important to us all.

It’s really encouraging to see information evangelists and seasoned experts forge new methods and standards like MIKE2.0 and TOGAF and it’s only a matter of time before EIM becomes mainstream.

So in the meantime, if the words Enterprise, Information and Management are EIM’s worst enemy, what should we call this amazing transformation programme, that one day will change the world forever?

Because information is a strategic imperative.

Topics: Enterprise Information Management, EIM